Last week, new Orioles fan Weller got his wish when Matt Wieters was called up to the majors. Today, long time Braves fan, me, got my wish when it was announced that Tommy Hanson would start Saturday’s game for the Braves against the Milwaukee Brewers. Around the same time, it was announced that the Braves had also gotten help for their powerless outfield when they acquired Nate McLouth from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
After all of this, the Chicago White Sox announced that their number one prospect, Gordon Beckham, would be in the lineup on Thursday.
So in a little more than a week, three uber-prospects are going to be making their major league debuts. I don’t really keep track of debut dates, but I’d be willing to bet that there hasn’t been a more hyped trio of major league debuts in a long time.
We’ll start with Beckham, who was only drafted last June and almost broke camp with the Sox after Spring Training. After only 54 games and 254 plate appearances, Beckham has a .316 average with 7 homers and 33 RBI. He spent the majority of his time at shortstop, but also played at second and third. Regular commenter Nick has informed me that Beckham will be playing at third tomorrow. You can look back at the comments of last year’s draft post for some talk about Beckham when he was drafted.
Tommy Hanson has been on most Braves fans’ radars for a while now. Hanson is regularly among the names mentioned as one of the top prospects in baseball. He was drafted in the 22nd round of the 2005 draft as a now defunct draft-and-follow player. Since then, he’s been nearly unhittable. This year at Triple-A Gwinnett, Hanson has posted an ERA of 1.49 with 90 strikeouts and only 17 walks in 66.1 innings. Those are eye popping numbers. Hopefully the success continues for the 22-year old.
Now on to the trade that helps the Braves’ outfield. The Braves recently decided that Jordan Schafer wasn’t ready for the big leagues just yet. This turned the gaping hole that is the outfield in Atlanta into a black hole. Garret Anderson and Matt Diaz are platooning in left, which is…okay. Neither will bring much power and Anderson got off to a slow start this year. In left, Jeff Francoeur is quickly wearing out his welcome for even the friendliest of fans.
McLouth slides into the center field sporting a gold glove and an All-Star appearance. Not the best metrics for a player, but you boast them if you have them. He can hit anywhere from first to sixth in the lineup and has speed as well as power. Overall, I’m pretty excited about the deal. We did give up quite a bit to get him, but I wasn’t a huge fan of Charlie Morton, didn’t really know a ton about Jeff Locke, and Gorkys Hernandez was blocked by Schafer anyway.
The Pirates called up their top prospect, centerfielder Andrew McCutchen, to replace McLouth in center. Add his name to the list of high-profile debuts.
This move officially starts the trading season in baseball. It should be fun as always.